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Tapering from higher Xanax dosage


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Hello,

I have been reading these boards for a few months now.  It has been so helpful to me!  Thank you for being here! I am not sure exactly what to write but I will try to be clear.

 

A brief history related to medication. For about 10 years I have been taking 25 mg Zoloft, 150 mg Lamictal and 150 mg Wellbutrin., with no seemingly adverse effects.  (Due to divorce life transition stuff) I am still in therapy.

 

5 years ago I was put on a once daily dose of 20 mg Valium, after a very unexpected personal tragedy.  I took it with the rest of my meds and never questioned it.  I said a few times to my doctor I did not think it did anything for me but never thought about it or upped the dose. I was more depressed than anxious I think.  I never felt "medicated" and just continued along as well as I could.

Late 2010 I discontinued the Valium with my doctor's support and had no problems or symptoms. I did not need to follow a strict regimen.  Wow! with Xanax that is a BIG change!  :-\

 

Last year (January) my doctor prescribed 6 mg Xanax daily. It was appearing that I was starting to have a breakdown.  It was written:  2 tablets by mouth 3x a day.  There was no "as needed" written on the prescription - so I just took was I was told.  Yes, it made a huge difference then and helped me get past some horrible times that I had not been able to face in therapy yet.

 

Last October I noticed that I really was conscious of the fact that I was taking a "medication" something that was foreign to my body. (I don't know if that makes sense to anyone else) It caused me to feel different than my usual self. In the beginning it calmed my anxiety.  I was noticing a little memory loss from the hours before bed. Even events in the past few weeks or so might seem hazy. A was a little withdrawn and isolated from the world.  And unfortunately became agoraphobic - but I hated staying in my house too!  I live alone and don't socialize much at all.  I don't have people in my life that I can talk to about any of my issues - my immediate family are all adults with their own lives.  I am divorced with no children. That is why it has seemed so important to try to reach out to someone here who might have some advice?  I am struggling trying to do this on my own - but I can do it - I know.  I have to do it.  Just hoping for any help?

 

This is what I have done so far in trying to taper.

 

Sunday, Feb19th I began(after a couple months of haphazard tries at tapering beforehand) to seem to be OK (but with lots of symptoms) at a daily dose of 4 mg Xanax. 1 mg 8AM then 1 mg 4PM then 2 mg 11 or 12 at night. I am determined to get off this that is why I am absolutely committed to no up dosing.

 

I had symptoms which I now (thanks to this site!) recognize as withdrawal.  Insomnia, tinnitus, extreme sweating, hypnagogcic awakenings, vivid dreams aching muscles and pounding heading.  Sometimes it is a migraine (I have imitrex for that - which works) but others are just almost unbearable headaches.  I became more paranoid about going outside OR staying inside.  A really uncomfortable way to manage my life (I am not working right now so that is a huge blessing)  Or what I call my life.  I am pretty much housebound.

 

After the first week at 4 mg I tapered to 3.5 taking 1.5 mg at night instead of 2.  These symptoms came back stronger than before with a few muscle twitches and a little more paranoia - generally feeling just awful mentally and physically. Not sure I would make it, but sure I would not take more Xanax. At the second week mark I started to feel almost normal for 2 days.  Then, "wham", I was hit by the worst wave of symptoms of all!  Had to talk to the doctor asap.

 

I spoke to my psychiatrist on Saturday.  I told her what is going on (she knew what I was doing in terms of tapering and we though that maybe it would be ok since the Valium taper was so easy)

I told that I had researched and found out about tapering to Valium to get off Xanax.  She was open to the idea (but also mentioned klonopin)  Eventually, since we agreed that Valium did not seem to have a bad effect I would be comfortable trying to add that to ease some of these symptoms.  I was interested in talking about a cross over but she thought it was a good idea to get some Valium into my system right away to ease my suffering (she is great believer in not suffering needlessly - and I feel like I deserve it because I messed up and should have to deal with the pain - but that is another story altogether and isnt important here)  :)

 

Longest story ever to the point now.  Saturday I took 20 mgs Valium, along with my 3 doses of Xanax. Sunday I had NONE of those terrible withdrawal symptoms!!  A little sleepy. Today - None of those withdrawal symptoms! But remaining on 3.5 mg.  I am just happy and relaxing for these past two days but know I have to get advice on what to do to continue on.  I am on a high dose still so maybe no one can give advice until I get to a more modest range but I thought I would put this out there.

 

Could the 20 mgs Valium actually be acting as 2  .5 doses of Xanax and that is why I feel better? (I don't want to think so just because the higher the benzodiazepine dose seems like it would cause greater short term rapid withdrawal symptoms since I only took it for two days?)

 

Is this amount of Valium maybe helping to smooth things out for now.  Just as a wonderful Godsend with no real reason?

 

And biggest of all.  How do I continue?  Do I try to drop my Xanax by .5 again and hope that the Valium continues to help?  Or is that just being naive?  And more importantly could this cause some serious bad effects - kindling or messing up my system.

I talk to the Dr again Monday. (I respect her but she has no definitive answers and I have liked the strong opinions/suggestions of some posters here!) :) I would like to have dropped by .5 again just to test this out and see what can be done by the time I talk to her next week. Otherwise we will probably agree to just drop by .5 and it will be another week gone my before knowing the outcome.  Is that a bad idea?

 

Should I talk to her about a proper and strict crossover the Ashton way?  After this remarkable difference in the past two days I am so hoping that adding Valium as symptoms come up could be a solution and then tapering Valium as I did before,

which did not cause me any pain at all.

 

I am asking for help.  I would love any ideas or suggestions on my thought process.  It is obviously not functioning the best and I am just trying to crawl out of this hole with those who have done this before me.

 

I want so desperately to be free of this weight around my neck.  There must be more to life.  Thanks to anyone for listening.  Sorry for being so needy right now.  I can be helpful to others too.  This just has me stuck

I am forever in your debt for the information I have gleaned from all of you so far.  Thanks!

 

Hope it is a good day for everyone!

 

Peace.

 

 

 

 

 

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Hi bDaisy,

 

Welcome to BenzoBuddies.

 

I'm afraid I'm not much of an expert when it comes to xanax but we have plenty of members who are very knowledgeable, who I'm sure will chime in.

 

You can also post any questions you might have to our Withdrawal and Recovery board.

 

 

Hope

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I would post to the crossover taper board to get advice. But off the top of my head, I think xanax should be dosed 3x or 4x day, not two. Twice a day makes your benzo levels go up and down.

 

It's nice your psychiatrist wanted to make you more comfortable by adding the valium to the xanax, but the result is that you're on an even higher amount of benzo. I switched from the xanax rollercoaster to twice daily klonopin for tapering, so I too went up in benzo use and so had that much further to go to get off. Benzo withdrawal is no picnic. If there was a way I could've gotten off benzos comfortably, I would've done that instead of a steady taper.

 

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Hello bDaisy,

 

I was taking 6mg of Xanax as well. Started at 2mg, slowly ramped up to 6 over the course of two years. I really had no idea what proper tapering was, so I went to a treatment facility that did a rapid detox. It wasn't until I was in the midst of some bad withdrawal symptoms that I discovered the Ashton Technique.

 

It sounds like you did your research ahead of time, and now have some good options. It also seems like you a have a good doc who is willing to work with you through this. In terms of managing your taper, I'd look to duplicate Dr. Ashton's method as close as possible. But since I didn't do a slow taper myself, I can't really other you any specific advice on the matter. But I can offer you support and hope. As rough as my rapid detox and subsequent withdrawal have been, I'm still alive... and things have actually gotten a bit better. I'm only 6 weeks removed from the detox, and some symptoms have already subsided. I no longer have night sweats and the insomnia isn't as bad. I still have a long road ahead of me, but I know that I'll eventually be okay. Like you, I'm facing this pretty much alone—but I'm really happy to have this site to help me out. I think that you're in the best possible situation for making your taper and minimizing the severity of your withdrawal symptoms. And again, know that even under the worst circumstances, like my rapid detox, things will be okay.

 

 

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Hi!

Thanks everyone for your input! I did not know anyone replied until I hit the "show new replies" message above.  Yeah I am mush. Gator I don't know how you are still alive. But glad you are!! You must have a strong constitution and spirit,  Congratulations!  :yippee:

yram - I am afraid to post to the cross over board because I know I am not doing this"right" and that is my fault.  But I am going to do it right after this.  Even if I feel bad from the feedback.

tinfoilkathy.  Thanks for the comforting words.  This being alone is so hard.  There is not one person in my life I can discuss this with.  I have to go to strangers here.  Thank God you are here! Maybe that is why I am not doing this "right"  I am using my brain to figure it out and it is my brain that got me into the mess in the first place...

 

My plan this week is as follows.

Am .5 Xanax 5mg Valium

Afternoon 1 mg Xanax

Bed  .5 Xanax 5 mg Valium.

 

So as far as I can tell - I will be on the equivalent of 3 mg Xanax by using the Valium in place of Xanax.  ANd therfore dropping from 3.5 (for the most part) to 3 mgs.  Will see.

 

Again thanks for listening.  :)

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Daisy,

 

How are you doing?  Did you get some advice from the Tapering boards?  Don't worry about being right or wrong, this is complex and you are learning and you will figure it out.  Listen to your body and please don't be afraid to ask other taperers for advice, they will want to help you.  And the Ashton Manual is great, actually some think the tapering plan is a little fast now.  Also I believe there are charts for cross overs.  Maybe you can print out those sections and bring it to you doctor as a guide?  And then you can make a plan together.  It will help if she can see what you're referencing. 

 

I'm alone too but you'll find these strangers on this site will understand this better than others in your life can.  There is a lot to be said for advice, understanding and support from others who have been in your shoes.  You don't have to figure it out alone.

 

Hang in there, take your time, and good luck!  Your buddies will help you.  :)

 

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Hi Daisy,

 

Just stopped by to say I sympathize with you and understand what you are going through.

 

Keep faith,

 

Camille

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